Driving On Corfu
If you’re considering a rental car on Corfu, you’re going to get a piece of really great advice that could save your marriage. Haha. If you have not driven a stick shift (manual) in a long time, we highly recommend you pay the extra dough and get the automatic. This advice is coming from first-hand experience after renting a stick shift.
Two things that will happen to you while driving on Corfu.
#1. Corfu has many hills with one-way streets, especially in the small towns. It’s challenging if you’re not proficient driving a stick shift up a mountain with 50° angles, while having another car coming the other way, slowing down, stopping, putting it back into first gear, and get going again. Honestly, this was probably the most significant stressor of our stay on Corfu. There were a handful of stressful times where we didn’t know how we were going to get out of a situation. Luckily, everything worked out fine, but we would have loved an automatic on Corfu.
Side Story- When we first rented the car, it was beeping continuously for the first 10 minutes. Then we figured out the parking brake (emergency brake) was on.
#2 You will notice when visiting all of these small towns, especially during peak season that parking can be next to impossible. There’s nothing worse than having to park on a downhill or uphill slope only to come back to find another car parked two inches from your bumper. Then on an uphill lie, having to put it into first gear and take off when a vehicle parked inches behind you.
*** IMPORTANT TIP – Make sure you get an international driving license, many car rental companies will not rent a car to you without the international license! It’s really easy to obtain at your local AAA office.
How long does it take to drive around the island?
This is a loaded question, but I’ll tell you what we did, and you can go from there. We traveled to the north part of the island on the first day and the south part the second day. If you want to take your time, I would say 3-4 days is what you would need to see many different beaches and towns. We started on the north side and drove all around the coast. We strongly recommend that you watch the video below to get a sense of what it’s like to drive around Corfu. We didn’t get too much of the interior of the island except for when we crossed over from our Airbnb.
Beaches and Towns along The Sea
One thing we liked about Corfu was the small towns throughout the island, along the sea. We suggest you stop at several as they have their own distinctive vibe. Walk around, have a bite to eat or a drink, and relax. At the very least, sit on the beach for 20 minutes. These small, quaint villages seemed to line the coastline of Corfu.
Now we want to get into our route and what we thought about our different stops along the way.
Day 1 continued…
Stop #3 – Agios Georgios Beach
We suggest that you visit this beach right after Porto Timino Beach. It’s very close, and it’s such a pleasant contrast to the hike you just have finished. You will pull-up, park your car, get out, walk 40 steps and you’re sitting on the beach. haha. Agios Georgios Beach was our 2nd favorite beach on our first day. We enjoy going to beaches that have many things to do. Of course, there is a time and a place for having a whole desolate beach to yourself, but with that comes inconveniences.
Agios Georgios Beach had lots of things to do. First off, it’s a vast beach so you can walk up and down for probably a mile. For those people that love walking on the beach, this is the beach for you. Another thing we liked was how many restaurants were along the boardwalk area. There were plenty of opportunities for food stops along the boardwalk. We also saw some people wind sailing and a boat rental area.
Agios Georgios Beach would be an excellent option as a town to stay while in Corfu. We did not stay here, but there were quite a few resorts and considering there are many activities in this area we wouldn’t hesitate recommending Agios Georgios Beach as a home base. We love the mixture of amenities and tranquility on this beach. We had a sense of total relaxation with the added convenience of walking a few hundred feet for a drink or a bite to eat.
Here’s a couple of top rated properties in Agios Georgios Beach which are in the heart of the town.
Stop #4 – Avlaki Beach
Although this was one of our stops, we only spent about 10 minutes here. Don’t get me wrong; it was beautiful. The colors of the sea were gorgeous, and it was tranquil, VERY QUIET. It was very windy (I don’t know if this is common) with large rocks, not sand. From what we could see, there were a few restaurants but not many. The one bonus is you won’t have trouble parking here. lol. There is a hike that is supposed to be beautiful that takes around an hour from this beach over to the next beach on our list which is Agios Stefanos.
Stop #5 – Agios Stefanos
Before we get started, I want readers to be aware that when you put Agios Stefanos in Google, it brings you to the other side of the island for some reason. How we found this place was by merely searching for the restaurant we went to called the Wave Cocktail Bar.
Agios Stefanos was our favorite beach we went to on this day. We loved the small fishing village vibe, along with the gorgeous views of boats and the sea. It had a calm, relaxed feeling, especially when sitting at one of the various restaurants along the shoreline having a much-needed drink.
When we first arrived, we walked around the bay to get a few drone shots; you’ll see those in the video below. After finishing getting some great pictures and aerial footage, we walked up and down the boardwalk, checking out the various restaurants. There are 6 to 7 restaurants that have similar food, with lots of fish choices (most along the water).
We chose Wave Cocktail Bar, and we made the right decision on this for sure. We weren’t looking for dinner or a large lunch, although you could order from their full menu. We didn’t feel like spending €60 right before going home. We just wanted a simple appetizer and a few drinks. We found after reading all the menus the Wave Cocktail Bar had some of the best prices. The bonus? The service was some of the best we’ve had during our world travel tour. It was nice to see a server and the owner with a smile on their face and looking like they totally enjoyed what they do. We generally have found the service in Europe as compared to what we are used to in the United States to be less than accommodating (putting it mildly).
We had a few glasses of wine, a great tasting pizza while sitting in the comfortable couches overlooking the ocean. After a long day walking, hiking, and driving, it was nice to sit down and almost fall asleep in a chair. Haha. This is another area we would seriously consider staying if we were to return to the Island of Corfu.
Here’s a couple of top rated properties in Agios Stefanos Beach which are in the heart of the town.
This concludes our itinerary for Day 1 of our Northern Corfu beach exploration day. One of the reasons we stayed central on the island was so we could see both sides without having a long drive on the way home. If you were to stay on one end of the island or the other, it could be at least a 2-hour drive to get back at night. You may want to keep that in mind when booking your trip. If you’re going there to chill out, lie on the beach and drink, it’s probably not going to be a problem. If you are looking to explore the island, I would suggest you stay central, such as Corfu Town area.
Here’s a couple of top rated properties in Corfu Town which are in the heart of the town.
Day 2 – Exploring Corfu
Day #2 – Southern section of the Island of Corfu
The beginning of Day 2 was a little bit of a bummer. Reason being? Yesterday, we found our favorite beach on the whole island but didn’t have a lot of time to sit, relax and enjoy it. We are always on the go as travel bloggers, which sometimes gets frustrating. That being said, we still love what we’re doing and wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Stop #1 – Agios Gordios Beach
What an awesome spot this was! Sooo much to do. First, we walked down the main street and did some shopping. (You have to walk down the main road to get to the beach) We both got a pair of sunglasses. Bonus? They were €5 each. It was the best price we found for those cheap sunglasses. Throughout Greece, they were usually €10.
There are many bed and breakfasts or smaller boutique hotels lining the mountains with vast views of the sea and beach throughout Agios Gordios. Everything you need on vacation is here. There are lounge chairs, restaurants, large hotels with pools, and smaller, more intimate hotels. Most of the restaurants have free Wi-Fi and chairs if you decide to eat on the beach.
On the video, we show the menu of one of the restaurants. One of the best things was how inexpensive some of the restaurants were. You could have a nice lunch and a drink for under $20. We walked to one end of the beach where the large hotels are to check out the amenities for people on vacation. This part of the beach was the area we felt was the most beautiful; the rock formations were spectacular. The only negative was the parking. We had to park around 5 minutes out of town; although, I’m sure if you are staying in one of the hotels that won’t be a problem.
Here’s a couple of top rated properties in Agios Gordios Beach which are in the heart of the town.
Stop #2 – Prasoudi Beach
Prasoudi Beach was honestly in the middle of nowhere. I don’t even know how people know about this place. Haha. The drive to get here was long, empty and windy roads for a good 40 mins. When we arrived we saw one restaurant, and the beach had two people on it. If you’re looking to escape life and people, this might be the place for you. For us? We’d be bored in an hour. It also didn’t look like the best swimming, and it was windy.
Stop #3 – Mavroudis Olive Oil Factory Museum and Shop
Mavroudis Olive Oil Factory Museum and Shop is not a beach, but it was one of our favorite things we did during our time on Corfu. We heard and read about the importance of olives on the island. We thought it would be a great idea to tour an olive plantation and learn some history. When we pulled up, the parking lot was empty. We honestly didn’t even know if it was open. But sure enough, two guys came out who looked like brothers. We asked if we could tour their facility and he said sure, come on over. He took us through the museum and explained timelines, tools, and some history of the olive oil trade on Corfu.
He was a bit salty but funny at the same time. All we could do was laugh. We’d repeat something he said to verify (he was a little hard to understand sometimes), and he’d quickly yell back, “That’s Not What I said.”
After the tour of the museum, he took us into the factory and showed us how olive oil is made. Then he let us sample different types of olive oil. It was fascinating when he was explaining the differences between extra virgin olive oil, olive oil, and the best way to infuse these different flavors. The best thing of all? It was FREE, and the olive oil was excellent. We couldn’t help but purchase a few of the flavored olive oils before leaving, although there was no pressure to buy.
Stop #4 – Halikounas Beach
The last and final stop of our two-day journey was Halikounas Beach. We came here because it got such great reviews online. I don’t know if this changes in the summer, but it was pretty desolate when we got there. There were a few cars, and the beach itself was really windy. We didn’t walk down the entire beach, so I don’t even know if there was a restaurant. Halikounas Beach seemed like a beach you would go to with a bunch of friends, bring a barbecue, an ice chest and hang out all day throwing a Frisbee. To be honest, I’d probably skip this beach in your itinerary, especially if you visit the olive oil museum because it will mean some backtracking distance wise.
Our Corfu Review and Wrap-Up
Corfu was a fun time for a week, but being totally honest we much preferred the southern Greek islands of Naxos, Santorini, etc. Corfu just doesn’t compare, in our opinion, to the beauty of the other islands. There was a great deal of trash that would pile up on the side of the road all over the island. The roads were not much fun to drive on, and the drivers were crazy. I think everybody should experience this island, as it does have a unique style and beauty.
Hopefully, this blog post – Corfu Greece Travel Guide gives you some insight and helps you maneuver throughout the island during your visit. When traveling to different places throughout the world, we all have our different opinions. I’m sure many people love Corfu and continue to return yearly. For us? We are on to the next adventure and not looking back till next time.
More 2 Traveling Lovers Article & Video links from Greece:
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